back to article Weird garbled Windows 7 update baffles world – now Microsoft reveals the truth

Windows 7 users were left scratching their heads on Wednesday when a mysterious garbled patch appeared in Windows Update, origins unknown. The update only seems to have popped up on Windows 7 systems, including Windows 7 Pro and Windows 7 Enterprise. The rogue patch, which advertised itself as a Windows Language Pack, was said …

  1. JustNiz

    The fact that Microsoft's own processes aren't rigorous enough to have prevented this test code leaking into their live environment is VERY scary.

    Microsoft should come out and say exactly what the test patch actually effects/does, not just say that they are removing it. Its already in the wild and already effected public systems so therefore WAY too late for Microsoft to live in denial about it. I'm surprised that The Reg allowed themselves to be brushed off with corporate hyperbole instead of pushing Microsoft for these details, but I'm not even slightly surprised that Microsoft are still doing their usual "you don''t need to know what we are actually doing to your property" coverup instead of doing the real professional/correct thing.

    It just boggles my mind how evern large companies and so-called 'professional' IT managers can see this stuff happening then still choose to buy more Microsoft products to run their entire businesses on.

    1. 2+2=5 Silver badge
      Joke

      > Microsoft should come out and say exactly what the test patch actually effects/does, not just say that they are removing it

      It removes the word 'affect' from the system dictionary.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "It removes the word 'affect' from the system dictionary."

        The original appears correct: "effects" = "makes happen".

        The alternative is also viable: "affects" = "changes". However the "/does" suggests the author was trying to make it clear they really did mean "effects".

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          'Effect' is a noun... 'makes happen' is an action (as in verb)

          'Affect' is a verb.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            effect

            ɪˈfɛkt

            noun

            1.

            a change which is a result or consequence of an action or other cause.

            "the lethal effects of hard drugs"

            an impression produced in the mind of a person.

            "gentle music can have a soothing effect"

            2.

            the lighting, sound, or scenery used in a play, film, or broadcast.

            "the production relied too much on spectacular effects"

            3.

            personal belongings.

            "the insurance covers personal effects"

            verb

            verb: effect; 3rd person present: effects; past tense: effected; past participle: effected; gerund or present participle: effecting

            1.

            cause (something) to happen; bring about.

            "the prime minister effected many policy changes"

          2. Trixr Bronze badge

            Actually, effect and affect are both nouns and verbs. Your explanation is incorrect.

            You can "create an effect" (noun). You can "effect a change" (verb).

            "x affects y" (verb). "A flat affect" (noun).

            Note that the last use of "affect" is not the same as "effect". If you said "a flat effect" you might be saying that the paintwork on a 3D object makes it look flat. "A flat affect" means an observed expression of emotion (used by psychologists).

            1. Youngdog

              Trixr/AC - Effect vs. Affect

              This debate is the reason IT professionals, who generally came from a maths background and not languages, started using 'Impact' instead of both to spare their blushes!

              1. Terry 6 Silver badge

                Re: Trixr/AC - Effect vs. Affect

                Believe me, getting this wrong is common. Very. Not just in the IT world.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Trixr/AC - Effect vs. Affect

                "IT professionals, who generally came from a maths background and not languages, started using 'Impact' "

                ...or "bork".

            2. Kubla Cant Silver badge
              Headmaster

              The OP wrote "already effected public systems". If he's using effect as a transitive verb then that would mean that Microsoft, or their patch, had created or brought about public systems. Notwithstanding its etymology, effect is rarely used with a concrete object; in fact its use as a verb seems to be confined to objects that have a sense of "change" or "result". This suggests to me that the word intended was affect.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Am I the only one to not give a shit about the english and be more interested in the content?

                Serious stuff guys, maybe this is a "hidden encrypted" update that wasn't.

                1. Peter2 Silver badge

                  "It just boggles my mind how evern large companies and so-called 'professional' IT managers can see this stuff happening then still choose to buy more Microsoft products to run their entire businesses on."

                  Because large companies (or small companies) employing IT Professionals have WSUS (Windows Server Update Services) installed, which lets us choose which patches to install on our desktop estates.

                  Therefore, firstly we wouldn't have approved such a patch.

                  Secondly, even if we did approve the patch then it would have been deployed to the "canary" group first. (see canaries in coal mining) and we'd not have had a serious widespread problem even if it killed computers because it wouldn't have been deployed to essential staff.

                  Thirdly, everybody in the industry releases buggy software and screws up patches.

                  1. JustNiz

                    >> Thirdly, everybody in the industry releases buggy software and screws up patches.

                    Not really true. There are plenty of industries that can't afford to get it wrong even once, have unavoidable processes and do appropriate levels of testing.

                    Even if it was true, the real point isn't that someone made the mistake, but how professionally they recover from it and do the right thing after.

                    Not properly communicating what actually happened including explaining what the patch actually does is (yet another) highly unprofessional, blatantly arrogant cover-up by Microsoft instead of them doing the right thing.

                  2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

                    > Thirdly, everybody in the industry releases buggy software and screws up patches.

                    But the very fact that MS is going to insist upon forced, non-optional patches in the future means EVERY patch they release from now on is going to be under intense scrutiny. If they insist upon their current path, then nothing but 100% perfection will be considered acceptable. If they cannot guarantee that, then they *MUST* allow end users to opt out of updates. End of discussion.

                2. sabroni Silver badge
                  Stop

                  re: Am I the only one to not give a shit about the english

                  No. It looks like the start of this thread is full of grammatical nit picking purely to distract from a serious issue. MS sock puppets in false flag grammar outrage?

                3. Mark 75

                  While you have the right not to care about the English, other people do have the right to care about poor English, so get off your high-horse

        2. johnnybee

          Wasn't going to add to the pedantry, but (sorry OP)....

          The OP later used 'in the wild and effected public systems', indicating that the difference was not clear in OP's head.

        3. Christopher W
          Paris Hilton

          Downvoted for accuracy?

          Not by me. AC, you the real comments MVP.

          (Paris can tell the difference, unlike some of these commentards)

      2. Adam 1 Silver badge
    2. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Microsoft is getting too Oracle-y for my tastes.

    3. BobChip
      FAIL

      Enough!

      Microsoft seem to have an endless supply of "last straws". It is painfully obvious that they can no longer be relied upon to provide products which are fit for use, and that they cannot be trusted with user's data. Their remaining customers must be getting close to despair.

      I don't have a problem with any of this, because I abandoned MS completely about six years ago. But even from the standpoint of an outside observer, MS's behaviour beggars belief.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @JustNiz

      As much as I hate MicroSoft, all I can say is: Shit Happens.

      We had a tech at the company I am at (hence the Anon) that, instead of causing the encryption suite to decrypt the laptop HDD, they told ALL of the laptops in the organization to decrypt the HDD.

      They traced it back to a poorly configured group membership in a product I wont name, but it's initials are ePO.

    5. DrBobMatthews

      Typical of Microsofts increasing arrogance over the last few years. From the "We know what is best for you school of failed PR executives" Every update that comes from Microsoft is examined, checked for viruses and scrutinised before anyone in my company is allowed to install it. As soon as a working alternative to Microsofts bloatware is available, Microsoft will be dumped.

  2. td97402

    Mistake or Hack?

    So was it a mistake on their part or did somebody actually pull off a major hack? After all their BS, doublespeak, spin and deception the past couple of years I am to the point where I am not sure I believe anything Microsoft says anymore and that is really too bad. I used to be an MS evangelist.

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: Mistake or Hack?

      Have an upvote. I guess being a (lapesed) MS Certified Professional/Solution Provider counts as an evangelist. MS seem determined to keep me persisting in my conversion to Linuxen.

    2. joed

      Re: Mistake or Hack?

      new MS for you.

      Just yesterday I installed 10 on brand new box. I cleaned it up/silenced it and then I realized that this system not only has little to offer to me but since I can't trust it I really have no use for it.

      As for the update - little surprise. With 7 on extended life support MS will be actively sabotaging it to convince masses to move over to new, "better" offerings (that also suit their vision). Whoever hasn't disabled auto updates yet, got another warning shot now.

      1. LucreLout Silver badge

        Re: Mistake or Hack?

        @Joed

        With 7 on extended life support MS will be actively sabotaging it to convince masses to move over to new, "better" offerings (that also suit their vision). Whoever hasn't disabled auto updates yet, got another warning shot now.

        Here, amongst us, I agree with you. Though I'm already on Win10 myself, and while Edge is not ready forproduction yet, the rest isn't too bad (privacy settings adjusted).

        However, thinking about the wider world.... most people buy a PC, plug it in, get the internet up and running, then never look at it again. BotNets would not exist were these people forced to update their OS and software patches, and scan their systems.

        Generally I don't favour compulsion for a great many things, but we've let things run unhindered for 20+ years and they're not getting the message. So, regrettably, I want those people forced to update, forced to have a firewall, and forced to have trojan/virus scanning enabled.

      2. BobChip
        Flame

        Re: Mistake or Hack? Defaults auto-reset by updates!!!

        Joed,

        "Just yesterday I installed 10 on brand new box. I cleaned it up/silenced it and then I realized that this system not only has little to offer to me but since I can't trust it I really have no use for it."

        I have also tried a test Win 10 install, overwriting Win 7 Pro on a redundant (Dell Latitude) laptop. I also cleaned up and reset the defaults to give me as much privacy / security as possible. Result? A not very good Win 7 install, as far as I could see, and nothing to make me want to switch back from Linux to MS.

        HOWEVER, while I was trying it out, a slew of MS "security updates" came through and installed themselves. To my astonishment, I found that the updates had reset all my privacy settings to the system defaults, overwriting my preferences - presumably this constitutes MS's idea of security, though it is certainly not mine. A quick trawl of the net suggests that I'm not the only one to have this happen, or that this behaviour is some peculiar property of the old laptop I was using. Who the hell could ever trust a manufacturer who can do that to you?

        The HD has been reformatted and the laptop now runs Mint 17 as a spare PC for one of the kids at Uni. End of story.

      3. HurdImpropriety

        Re: Mistake or Hack?

        LOL... insinuating that MacOS is better? Insinuating that there are no defects or procedure slips in any other development process ?? Welcome to AGILE .

      4. jelabarre59 Silver badge

        Re: Mistake or Hack?

        > ...With 7 on extended life support MS will be actively sabotaging it to convince masses to move over to new, "better" offerings...

        Ah, so MS is encouraging people to migrate to Linux, then.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Mistake or Hack?

      If it was a hack, Microsoft would cover it up.

      Reme!ber the massive Xbox live hacks that were widespread, with accounts emptied. Microsoft didn't want the bad press they generated over Sony coming back at them. The news was buried using thir mighty cash reviews to convince news sites they didn't want to run the story, not with advertising spending review imminent

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Microsoft didn't want the bad press they generated over Sony coming back at them

        Right. Because MS installed the Sony rootkits.

  3. Gatt

    Upgrade or get garbled

    It's actually Microsoft's latest strategy to get people to update to Windows 10

    They will bombard them with garbled updates until the system is upgraded...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Big Brother

      Re: Upgrade or get garbled

      That's no gobbledygook… it's cyphertext.

      It's too coherent to be gobbledygook. The domains are all appropriately punctuated (only dots, occurring in typical distribution), invariably https protocol and all carry the expected suffixes. Look closely Hans, you'll see wilful obfuscation. Encipherment or simply a private ( .mil would seem likely? ) DNS

      I have a very bad feeling about this.

      Where's that deathstar icon when you need it?...

  4. Chika
    FAIL

    I hate to say this, but...

    Well, what else could I say? This is why I wouldn't trust Microsoft's update setup as far as I could could comfortably spit a rat.

    (And this from somebody that is currently typing from a test Windows 2000 system! Yeah, sometimes I just ask for it!)

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: I hate to say this, but...

      A W2K system should be relatively safe. It isn't going to get updates.

      1. John Tserkezis

        Re: I hate to say this, but...

        "A W2K system should be relatively safe. It isn't going to get updates."

        It isn't going to get drivers for modern hardware either.

        1. Chika

          Re: I hate to say this, but...

          "It isn't going to get drivers for modern hardware either."

          Very true, but then the system in question was running in a Virtualbox, so it had very little to worry about as far as drivers were concerned, and it worked quite well considering the amount of time that has passed since support ended. Ah, well, I'm safe back on my openSUSE system now.

          Misty-eyed nostalgia... now where's the icon for that, then, Reg?

    2. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: I hate to say this, but...

      I love Win2000, I might just spin up a VM with it today for old times sake ;-} I too am skeptical of MS updates, especially for desktop systems. I'm glad I can count all MS desktops I must manage on two hands...

  5. iMap
    FAIL

    'Rogue Patch'...

    probably another attempt to install telemetry update for Win7 users to migrate to Win10 disguised as a language pack!

    I ain't movin' (until 2020 that is) then it's linux across my network...

    unless MS get rid of that stupid tile system UI

    1. King Jack
      Facepalm

      Re: 'Rogue Patch'...

      So the spying part is fine... just get rid of the tiles? um, OK.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 'Rogue Patch'...

      Classic Shell with its Classic Start Menu option gets rid of those tiles nicely. Just be sure to turn off each tile first or they will still update in the background, wasting network bandwidth.

  6. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Was it really a test?

    Was it really a test? I'm rather suspicious of the garbage URLs.

    If it was:

    NOTE TO MICROSOFT: Per RFC2606, .test and .example top-level domains are set aside for tests and examples. example.org, example.net, and example.com domains are also reserved for tests and examples. All these domains are held by IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) so they will never be assigned. You are not to use (random crap).org, .edu, or .gov, because they (theoretically) could be assigned at any time (and, in fact, if these links had been kept up, scammers could have registered at least the .org domain, while they could never have gotten an (whatever).example.org domain.)

    Second note: Perhaps you should put "test update" somewhere in the update description, so if it's leaked it's not so mysterious.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Big Brother

      Re: Was it really a test?

      Stupid foboff reeks that familiar reek of the NSAFT _NSAKEY stupid foboff.

      So, it would appear NSAFT/US.gov has private obfuscated infrastructure in place for distributing special private patches among it's other strategic assets. Hardly surprising. The halfwits appear to have accidentally pushed one out over the public pleb-and-foreigner system. Hardly surprising. Said special patch wasn't installed on the great unwasheds' unblessed systems. Hardly surprising. NSAFT will now presumably have to release that formerly special, was to be private, patch for a useful backdoor out to the riffraff in order to convincingly brush off the little incident. NSA now down one 0-day. No biggie. Nothing to see here. Move along...

    2. DrBobMatthews

      Re: Was it really a test?

      You must be totally deluded if you think that the children employed by Miccrosoft can read! They are not software systems developers or software engineers. Just a bunch of rotten PR execs and sleazy Marketing guys.

      1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

        Re: Was it really a test?

        > You must be totally deluded if you think that the children employed by Miccrosoft can read!

        They can read, just not English. Perhaps it's written in Hindi?

  7. Dan Paul

    Just the thing to....

    send the tin foil hat brigade over the edge and then some.

    Not that it might even be warranted suspicion, given the way they put .mil, .edu and .gov extensions on the support links.

    By the way iMap, just once you might try Classic Shell (It's free at www.classicshell.net) and see what it does for even Windows 7 though it works great on all more recent versions of Windows and lets you make customizations that you will never be able to do without such a program.

    It solves every case of Win 8, 8.1 and 10 buyers remorse I have ever seen. Most people say "Great, you put Windows 7 on my new computer! Now I can use it". OR you could continue to whine and complain and threaten. And I don't sell for them or get a kickback.

    1. dan1980

      Re: Just the thing to....

      @Dan Paul

      There are two problems here:

      1. That the updates was released accidentally - that is very concerning with the move to forced updates in Win 10 but worrying even without that.

      2. The nature of the text.

      Problem 1 is clear and being concerned about it should be a natural response for any right-thinking IT bod.

      Problem 2 is presumably what prompts you to invoke the 'foil hat' label. I see that but this is concerning enough to be at least a little skeptical. As someone above said, it's clearly cipher-text rather than just random characters and it's the URLs which are most concerning.

      I am not overly troubled by this but I think there is enough to worry about here to warrant a much more detailed response by Microsoft.

      1. Dan Paul

        Re: Just the thing to....

        Dan1980,

        It was a botched update they already pulled from circulation.

        That issue was explained by other posters and websites quite sufficiently and convincingly.

        However, the "Tin Foil Brigade" got together with the "Black Helicopter Troop" to announce some big conspiracy and cover up by the ever more "malicious" Microsoft.

        Ganging up on anyone who criticizes an anti-Microsoft rant seems to be de rigueur here and rather Apple-ite in nature. Who's acting like Scientologists' now?

        16 downvotes is quite enough proof of that accusation.

        1. dan1980

          Re: Just the thing to....

          @Dan Paul

          Just speculation - as I can't speak for others and I didn't down-vote you - but perhaps the problem was that you dismissed peoples' concerns by labelling them as akin to conspiracy theories.

          One big problem in today's world is that it has been proven that companies like Microsoft have been working with the government to provide access to user data in secret and on a massive scale. Whether MS were compelled to do so or not is largely irrelevant - it happened.

          I don't, personally, believe that this update was anything untoward but I don't automatically discount the views of people who are worried that it wasn't because they are justified in being skeptical and suspicious. Moreover, (recent) history has shown that bad things happen when people are not skeptical, when people take the "don't be silly; it would cost way too much to do that" approach or assure everyone that "they have better things to do that spy on us".

          Maybe that makes me a foil-hat wearer but, while much paranoia is unwarranted, it is a proven fact that being paranoid doesn't mean that you aren't right too.

          1. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: Just the thing to....

            When I was a stewed ant, many years ago, there was a sign on the back of the psych lab, above the two way mirror.

            "Just because you're paranoid it doesn't mean they aren't out to get you".

  8. Mpeler
    Gimp

    Smells like a patch day

    Maybe it's Microft's (belated) answer to Weird Al's "Smells like Nirvana":

    It's so unintel-ligible

    I just can't get it through my skull

    It's hard to bargle nawdle zouss

    With all these marbles in my mouth

    Don't know, don't know, don't know, oh no

    Don't know, don't know, don't know...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FklUAoZ6KxY&feature=player_embedded

  9. bobgameon

    With all the people complaining about automatic updates on windows 10 did Microsoft really need to give them another reason regarding their update service? It feels like there's nothing Microsoft does better than shooting itself in the foot.

    1. Rumournz
      Mushroom

      @ bobgameon

      MS has run out of shotgun ammo and had to resort to the chainsaw - one wonders what will happen when they find the BFG....

  10. cyrus

    Ha!

    "... The fact that a test update was inadvertently released to the mainstream deployment channel should definitely give Windows 10 users pause. "

    I think the time for Windows 10 users to pause was some time ago. Pausing now only delays the inevitable.

    1. P. Lee Silver badge

      Re: Ha!

      Give W10 users pause for thought perhaps. They can't pause the updates and the spying.

      Classic shell may address some ui issues, but what about the rest of it? The problem with "windows as a service" is that it's missing the other business elements in that scenario: dev, test, staging, prod. You don't just update production without seeing if an update works in your environment first.

      Oh yeah, and don't connect dev/test to prod. Firewalls, jumphosts... We've heard of them.

    2. hplasm Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Ha!

      "give Windows 10 users pause"

      Would't that make them unable to type?

      /furry

  11. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Alienating support

    I am ( or was) a Microsoft supporter. back from the days of CP/M - or rather when I discovered MSDos

    And I have never objected to changes if they were beneficial to me as a user, or to the staff who I managed, if we could get the work done better with it. I even could cope with Clippy most of the time.

    But the last few years almost all MS's actions have been negative.

    There was the ribbon. Which makes it impossible to hide menu elements you'll never use, or to group them according to your own work patterns without creating a whole new menu and hiding several original ones. (At least Clippy was there to help you do things - not prevent it).

    Then Windows 8. Which hid key elements in invisible patches on the screen, so that you could only ever find them by accident when you least wanted them.

    Then 8.1 which improved things a bit, due to public outcry but only with a grudging air.

    And now Win 10. Which could have been good.

    But there's the Start All Apps menu, that makes organising programmes as difficult as all hell.. Which allows programmes to install folders, but won't let users directly interact with them, so that we have to open them, and right click an element get inside them, then navigate up the tree to get to and move/remove the folder.

    Which won't let you move their in-built apps at all, even if you have a perfectly good folder to put them into.

    Which doesn't immediately register that links have moved, and sometimes won't admit it ever.

    And there's the controls that are spread into all sorts of places, mostly not the control panel, so that, for example creating a restore point manually is pretty much hidden from mortal view.

    Then there's the compulsory update, without the option to say no ( I would not mind if it just installed by default if users failed to respond).

    And the Notifications panel that has only the most basic of options.

    I'm sure others could add to the list.

    1. Adam 1 Silver badge

      Re: Alienating support

      We could but it's kind of like shooting fish in a barrel.

      1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

        Re: Alienating support

        Nah, shooting sardines in a tin, can't miss.

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge
          Flame

          Re: Alienating support

          Yeah, the Microsoft knockers will find any number of grumbles. That's no surprise. BUT, this is about the fact that those of us who have actually quite liked using Microsoft for a few decades are now being kicked by their really unhelpful or plain stupid design decisions.

          The only reason to remove the Win 7 type start menu was that it was a bit clumsy to manage, with every new bit of software adding a whole bloody folder of crap, as if theirs was the only programme on there. So it needed to be made simpler to control.

          Instead, first they removed it in Win 8, then when they brought it back in Win 10 they kept all the bad bits and all but completely took away what there was of the good part, the ability to manage it to make selecting a programme easier and quicker.

          Which is what they did with the "Ribbon". I think the excuse was that some users weren't able to find items they'd moved in Office 2003 (should they suddenly want to do so), or some such nonsense. But they couldn't just write a "show all" or "find" switch. No they, to all intent and purposes, removed the ability to hide the vast number of largely unused menu items that cluttered up the interface, or regroup the menus to fit a user's work pattern.

          Then there was the matter of where documents are stored ( by default). Was there anything wrong with having a folder that a user could navigate to directly?

          Was it really difficult to control access to these for machines with more than one log-in?

          Of course not. But they decided that users' documents would by default be buried deeply inside the OS' innards, alongside the settings, with only an indirect pathway to them. Which is great if you only want to open and close a document with its associated programme, and in its default location. But not so great if, say, you want to share,copy or move a document.

          But more to the point, WHY?.

          Why make things bloody complicated when they can be kept simple?

          Why have hidden "charms"?

          Why have the controls in lots of different places.

          Why stop people organising the Start menu.

          Why make creating a restore point hard to find?

          And of course, why keep updates secret and compulsory, even for savvy users?

          And so on and so on.

          It's the sheer bloody-mined pointlessness of these decisions that rile me so much.

    2. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: Alienating support

      "I'm sure others could add to the list."

      Removing "Add to Autocorrect" from the context menu in Office 2013.

      Only one upvote I'm afraid...

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wouldnt be surpirised if the URLs were different per machine

    That or the background OSslowdown feature is turned up to 11

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's probably a tracker like a lot of other recent updates I've disabled, I would say I'm shocked but let's face it I bought the software with my money so it's not like I have any rights over what information they collect or steal from me. When are they going to learn that my dual boot systems are slowly but surely starting to look more likely to be single OS and it's not going to be them? Add to that I am now actively installing Linux Mint on family and friends laptops and computers when they inevitably mess them up or they slow to a crawl. Which has actually worked quite well as the use case is web browsing, office and maybe some other hobby which can be catered for, printers work well, connecting phones and connecting to whatever cloud they want to use is simple. I used to like Microsoft, I held off on Windows 7 until sp1 as is the normal case, I took one look/test at 8 and thought no that's not for me, as is the case with 10, if something isn't broke then don't try to fix it. I am concerned about the update policy with Windows 7 though, it seems they are trying to actively push people to 10 and this update farce is only going to get worse.

  14. Camilla Smythe

    FTFY

    The URLs are generated from a hash of your machines UID/License so it can download an appropriately coded matching bit of software for your specific machine and login from Mercan servers so that something else will happen. The Microsoft numpty who coded the background thing forgot to do a reverse translation back to...

    http://windows.com/fluffycuddlyupdate/KBnothingtoworryabouthere234587.com

    Prior to displaying it to the user screen and Microsofts 'User Advantage' software went ape and warned you that something shit was going down. Probably had his head too far up his bum re-writing/blocking the hosts file to warn the UA team to switch off their shit whilst the payloads were being delivered.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: FTFY

      Looks like they tried to sneak an update onto the OS (Which has URLs for mil gov and edu) Would be interesting to decrypt the URLs if what you say is true. How is the UID & Licence used to create the ciphertext?

  15. Christoph Silver badge

    Do NOT read the text of the update aloud. You may summon something unpleasant.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Well, I always wanted to talk to Steve Ballmer...

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Yeah.. that might almost be ok.. but can you duck chairs flying about randomly?

      2. hplasm Silver badge
        Alert

        Ia

        Ballmer fhtagn..

    2. TRT Silver badge

      It does resemble...

      the name of a Gygaxian demon.

    3. Chika
      Devil

      Do NOT read the text of the update aloud. You may summon something unpleasant.

      Are you insinuating that Microsoft is doing the work of the devil?!?

  16. Tromos

    "...should give Windows 10 users pause."

    Never mind pause. Stop and rewind is more like it!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "...should give Windows 10 users pause."

      Quite. Have literally just finished upgrading a (very small) W10 fleet to W7.

      Stop and rewind was exactly it.

  17. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Disruptive innovation!

    "Software as an Enema" has arrived

  18. Tom B

    Controlling Updates in Windows 10

    To temporarily delay updates in Windows 10 Home and Pro, simply go into Services and disable the Windows Update service (the service will be stopped automatically). Create an icon on your desktop, and turn it back on once you know the current batch of updates are safe. That way, you can update your W10 machine once every month (say, on the second Tuesday of the month). You should also know that Windows 10 no longer defaults to making a Restore Point when it performs a Windows Update. I suggest you turn that back on in conjunction with switching the service on and off.

  19. Chris Gray 1
    Angel

    Internal strife?

    Hmmm. Seems to me that there are probably lots of technical folks inside Microsoft that don't like the "telemetry" and auto updates of Windows 10. What better way to sidetrack it all than "accidentally" pushing out an obviously bad update, just to show folks how bad uncontrollable auto updates are?

  20. mr.K

    Once I was a computer geek...

    Once upon a time I was a computer geek. It was when it was all fairly new and I liked to fiddle with it and figure out how it all worked. At some point the computer itself with the operating system became just a tool and when you have learned to use a tool any change for change itself it just and annoyance. My previous OS was win2k and I held out to the bitter end. I knew how it worked, it was stable and it didn't do a whole lot of things I never asked it to do. Windows 7 still kind of works, it is stable, but I have spent a whole lot more time to manage it and keep it in line than I ever did with win2k. To add to that Microsoft has now forced me to carefully investigate every single patch they send so I can figure out if they are legit or just some crap they try to force feed us.

    So why not Linux? Because I not fluent enough in it and I have so far not seen the benefit in changing when compared to the time it will take me to bring me up to speed. And, as I said I am not a computer geek in that fashion any more. I have my tool, it works, it does what I want of it, why can they just leave me alone? I paid for it. Why do they have to cripple their own software all the time and mess it up? What I am trying to figure out now is when the last chance will be to get a new computer with Windows 7.

    Sidenote: I tried the other day to figure out what I can do in Office Word 365 (what is Word actually called now?) that I wasn't able to do in Word 2.0. I still can't place a picture where I want it and expect it to stay, I still can't tell what DPI I want on it and page break bugs are still around. So the same limitations are still around, but I just can't remember if there are any new features I actually use.

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: Once I was a computer geek...

      " I still can't place a picture where I want it and expect it to stay, I still can't tell what DPI I want on it and page break bugs are still around."

      Trying to do DTP with a word processor is like trying to nail jelly to a tree -- an exercise in frustration. Try using a page layout program. If you're serious InDesign, if amateurish is good enough MS Publisher.

      1. DropBear Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Once I was a computer geek...

        "Trying to do DTP with a word processor is like trying to nail jelly to a tree"

        On one hand, you're quite right. On the other hand, do please tell me who ever set out to "nail jelly to a tree" instead of wanting to stick an image somewhere and have it STICK THERE. Why do these pieces of shit called "word processors" exist at all?!? Halfway between "text-with-rigid-layout" and "bucket'o'ASCII with (some form of) linefeed", they make exactly as much sense as being "half alive"...

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
          Holmes

          Re: Once I was a computer geek...

          Why do these pieces of shit called "word processors" exist at all?!

          Not fully sure. They appeared before markup was a thing, and later persisted in metastasizing in spite of TeX and company, probably because the special notation made people afraid. Even nowadays, barely functional "WYSIWYG" web editors written in JavaScript that generate rage are mushrooming, as using markup would be both simpler and controllable. I'm looking at you, Atlassian...

        2. Pompous Git Silver badge

          Re: Once I was a computer geek...

          Have you ever tried to do a mail merge manually? Prep a document prior to importing into a page layout program to minimise the work required? Didn't think so...

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Once I was a computer geek...

      Your best bet may be to buy a Win7 box (or two) now. Leave them in the box for another year and then fire them up, run the updates and hope for the best... I just bought milady a new box with Win7.. the updates pushing Win10 didn't come down the pipe when I was setting it up yesterday. A 180 updates (or there about) did though... but not the ones I have blacklisted. Very strange since I hadn't got to fiddling with the HOSTS file yet. I'm keeping an eye out for 6 updates in particular.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        No, set them up and run all the updates now, before MS includes W10 telemetry into the kernel, like IE, and you can't get rid of it anymore. Then disable WU and put in storage if you want.

        If you wait two more years, you might as well write them off for Windows and install some other OS. I'm sure plenty of people can give you an idea or six.

  21. My Coat
    FAIL

    You may need to restart...

    This test update - with presumably no real content - is showing a restart may be required message in the screenshot. I see that Windows habit that "updating anything requires a restart" hasn't changed.

  22. earl grey Silver badge
    FAIL

    this stuff is why i turned off auto updates in win 7

    No, i don't trust MS to not download shite (unasked for shite) to my computer. I don't trust MS to download good updates to my computer. I don't trust MS to not try to spy on whatever i am doing on MY computer for MY benefit so they can try to monetize my running win 7 without their interference.

    That trolley left the track a long time ago.

  23. zen1

    Infuriating

    It seems MS is obfuscating more and more information regarding patches and hot fixes and is expecting us to just "trust" them. While I appreciate their efforts in streamlining the patching process, I like to know and make the decision on what is or isn't getting installed on my property. Furthermore, I recall being told by a MS engineer that not all patches were generic or to be installed blindly, only install the ones that are needed for your machine or critical OS patches.

  24. Howard Hanek Bronze badge

    About that Intergalactic Bypass........

    Was the patch in Vogon? Do we have to be concerned that demolition is imminent?

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: About that Intergalactic Bypass........

      Where is The Vogon when he is actually needed to comment...??

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: About that Intergalactic Bypass........

        "Where is The Vogon when he is actually needed to comment...??"

        Probably at his weekly regeneration at the mothership

        1. Chika
          Coat

          Re: About that Intergalactic Bypass........

          Oh freddled gruntbuggly!

          Oops... sorry!

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    stop windows 10 automatic updates:

    Step 1: Launch the Windows 10 Settings application (Windows key + I).

    Step 2: Now click Network & Internet.

    Step 3: Click Advanced options which appears below the list of Wi-Fi networks so you may have to scroll down a bit.

    Step 4: Toggle the Set as metered connection switch to On. It is important to understand that this option will only affect the network you’re currently connected to, and that Windows will remember the setting.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Trollface

      And Windows will remember to "correct" the setting with the next update . . .

  26. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    "Accidental release of test software"

    VW didn't think of this excuse?

    1. Antonymous Coward
      Holmes

      Re: "Accidental release of test software"

      Because it wouldn't fool anyone?

  27. 404 Silver badge
    Terminator

    In regard to the thickness and quality of tinfoil...

    ...any recommendations to that effect?

    Seems we've finally reached the point of shutting our machines completely down, in fear of what might occur overnight to our 'property', while unattended.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Gimp

      Re: In regard to the thickness and quality of tinfoil...

      I find 10mm eminently satisfactory but favour Ag over Sn on account of its superior conductivity. Rather heavy though.

      That said, you should conduct your own research into the subject rather than trusting the word of a random AC on the interwebs. Natch. How do you know I'm not working for Microsoft FFS?

      A well fitting silver zentai suit has the added benefit of tarnishing to an impeccably appropriate shade of black -->

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: In regard to the thickness and quality of tinfoil...

      "Seems we've finally reached the point of shutting our machines completely down, in fear of what might occur overnight to our 'property', while unattended."

      A home user complained that he had caught his W7 PC powering itself up in the middle of the night - about 3am. Setting updates to manual stopped that.

      The tentative conclusion was that W7 was automatically starting the PC to get updates. It didn't seem possible - although some PCs do have an "autostart time" option in their Bios settings. There was no other obvious explanation to fit the symptom and the fix.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: In regard to the thickness and quality of tinfoil...

        Was the system recent enough to be pwned by NSA vPro™ / AMT™ ?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: caught his W7 PC powering itself up in the middle of the night

        That's how I've got my home pc configured. Updates itself in the middle of the night so I don't have to manage it. Now I have a fantastic gobbleajook update installed automatically!

        But seriously, before they started shipping telemetry updates as recommended this was a sensible way to have consumer pcs configured.

        1. 404 Silver badge

          Pull CMOS battery...

          got it.....

          damn, John Connor might be real...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: caught his W7 PC powering itself up in the middle of the night

          "That's how I've got my home pc configured. Updates itself in the middle of the night so I don't have to manage it."

          Does it actually power itself up to get the updates at 3am? That sounds dangerous if machines have their ventilation restricted at that time - or does it only happen on desktops?

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not taking the bait

    Sorry, but after the Windows 10 privacy debacle, the fail to make public the documentation of each update, the unauthorized download of Windows 10, and the telemetry "updates" forced into Windows 7, I no more believe a single word from Microsoft.

    Fortunately I already disabled the updates, so I no more get sht, and I'm migrating away from Windows.

    Microsoft is the Volkswagen of software.

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Not taking the bait

      "Microsoft is the Volkswagen of software."

      no, MS is the White Audi of software..

    2. nkuk

      Re: Not taking the bait

      Microsoft have eroded what little trust I had left for them. I've moved to Mint rather than upgrade to Win10, or worry about what they are going to try to sneak onto Win 7 systems, and have been impressed by how painless the change has been.

  29. PeterM42
    FAIL

    WANKERS!!!!!!

    Oh wait! - they are not that self - starting.

  30. VinceH Silver badge

    "We incorrectly published a test update and are in the process of removing it."

    And what were they testing was whether anyone would actually notice. Now they know.

  31. Yugguy

    Just disable the service

    Windows 10 still uses the automatic update service.

    Just set it to Disabled.

  32. regadpellagru

    Is it just me ...

    Or this blunder may be a symtom of an incoming Wupdate as a Service, like, you know renting the Wupdate channel to "partners", whatever than means ...

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As if anyone needed another reason to not use LOSER10

    How many reasons do people need to just say NO to Win10?

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: As if anyone needed another reason to not use LOSER10

      Just one more little reason....

    2. King Jack

      Re: As if anyone needed another reason to not use LOSER10

      There are are still folk who believe that Win 10 does not spy them. Despite M$ declaring to the world that it does. I don't know if they are genuine or M$ shills.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How that sort of thing happens

    "How that sort of thing happens, though, we're not totally clear on."

    Like this:

    At a previous employer, a colleague managed to fax financial transaction confirmations addressed to "Mickey Mouse" and "Donald Duck", to a real client.

    This happened because the test system he was working in had been set up using a dump of the production database, and although he'd made up the test confirmation itself, it was linked to a copy of a real transaction record, which was linked to a copy of a real client record - including their fax details. This, combined with that the test system had been incorrectly configured to point to the production fax gateway, resulted in red faces all the way up to the board level.

    Simple.

    Lesson: Don't conduct testing using a 'copy of live' unless it is guaranteed to be sandboxed.

  35. Adam Higgins
    Thumb Down

    More routine B.S.

    It seems that Microsoft routinely puts out updates that have to be revised or removed. Whether this "update" was an unintentional release, or an intentional hack, it demonstrates why I do not allow automatic updates to my Windows 7. Windows 10 will NEVER be installed on any machine I own.

  36. robertcirca

    Microsoft and VolksWagen

    VolksWagen thought they are too big a company that something could go wrong with their cheating.

    MicroDumb thinks they are even better at cheating and lying. We will see.

    1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: Microsoft and VolksWagen

      I'd *STILL* trust Volkswagen far longer than I'd trust Microsoft. VW was merely trying to get around pesky bureaucrats, always a laudable effort in my book. MS just wants to screw ALL of us.

  37. ThomR

    Pseudo-Localization, IMO

    MS isn't saying for sure, but having worked there for a while, those long, jibberish strings look like what I'd often see in pseudo-localization testing. When they make a dialog box that has text on it, for example, at some point before they have the in-locale text ready, they put in jibberish text that's ~2.5-5x longer than the English test that's there. They (used to?) do that for sanity checking the UI and resource handling code, and to make sure there is enough space in the dialog. With languages like German and Japanese, the translation tends to be a lot longer than the English.

    So, they take the resource files (or similar for the particular application), and then replace all the strings, rebuild the app/application/service/site/whatever, and do a UI review to make sure none of those strings are truncated, or futz with the UI. This also lets them easily find string resources that were inadvertently put/left in the code and not identified as a localizable resource.

    That's my conjecture. Guess. Prognostication. Imaginary Cannard. You get the picture ;-).

    Who knows what it really was, beside one sloppy load of egg custard on their faces, but that's what it looked like to me.

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